Cheap Car Insurance for 21-Year-Olds
Use The Zebra to get cheap car insurance for 21-year-olds from GEICO, Progressive, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual and Allstate (+100 other companies)
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How much is car insurance for 21-year-olds?
On average, a car insurance policy for a 21-year-old driver will cost about $2,891 per year — over $1,000 more than the national average. Although a 21-year-old is no longer a teen driver, they’re still considered a risky client to an insurance company. Historical data shows younger drivers are more likely to get into car accidents and receive citations — all of which puts an insurance company at more financial risk and thus they’ll charge more in premium.
Still, there are ways to save as a 21-year-old driver — such as by gathering quotes from multiple carriers. Let’s break down some cheap car insurance providers and other ways to save.
Cheap car insurance for 21-year-olds
We discovered that USAA is the cheapest car insurance company for 21-year-old drivers — priced at just over $2,000 a year. USAA also won top points for customer service according to The Zebra Customer Satisfaction Survey. However, it should be noted that USAA is only available to members of the military community, so most drivers will unfortunately not be eligible.
|Company||Avg. Annual Premium||Avg. Monthly Premium|
If you’re not in the military or related to someone who is, GEICO is the second cheapest for 21-year-old drivers. Bear in mind that this data should only be considered as a jumping-off point. Your insurance costs can be lower if you’re still on your parent’s policy or if you bundle it with renters insurance.
Dynamic auto insurance data methodology
Methodology: The auto insurance rates displayed above and throughout this page are dynamic, meaning the data will refresh when the most recent information is made available. Rates are based on a sample driver profile — a 30-year-old single male driver with a Honda Accord and full coverage. This profile was adjusted based on common pricing factors used by major car insurance companies, like age, coverage level, driving record and others.
Why do 21-year-olds pay so much for car insurance?
Although 21-year-olds are paying more than the national average, there’s a considerable drop in car insurance premiums from 20-year-olds. On average, 21-year-olds pay over $700 less than 20-year-olds per year.
|Age||Avg. Annual Premium||Avg. Monthly Premium|
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Your gender and your premium
Until you get to be 25 or so, gender is still a considerable rating factor for car insurance, especially for young drivers. At age 21, men pay almost $300 more per year than women in car insurance costs. Auto insurance companies see young male drivers as statistically riskier than young female drivers and charge accordingly to account for the higher risk. As you age, women actually pay about 1% more for car insurance than men.
Currently, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina and California are the only states which do not consider gender as a rating factor. Furthermore, as of January 1st, 2019, California, Washington DC, and Oregon now require non-binary gender options.
|Gender||Avg. Annual Premium||$ Difference|
How does your education impact your insurance?
While the difference is quite small, car insurance companies see drivers with more education as less likely to get into accidents or file claims. On average, drivers who have a PhD pay a few dollars less per month than drivers without higher education.
Currently, California, Massachusetts, Georgia and Hawaii do not use your education level in calculating your car insurance quote.
|Education||Avg. Annual Premium||Avg. Monthly Premium|
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How does your credit score affect your premium?
Having poor credit, which tends to happen with lots of student loans, will cause your car insurance rate to increase. Data from the Federal Trade Commission shows that drivers with poor levels of credit are not only more likely to file a claim, but their claims tend to be more expensive in value than drivers with higher credit. To an insurance company, this data signals the need for higher premiums in order to protect themselves.
Currently, California, Hawaii and Massachusetts do not use your credit score to determine your premium. Learn more about car insurance with good credit and bad credit.
|Credit Tier||Avg. Annual Premium||Avg. Monthly Premium|
What about your location?
Because insurance is state-regulated, any time you move your insurance premium is almost guaranteed to change. Certain ZIP codes will be rated higher for what an insurance company might see as an additional risk for living there.
|State||Avg. Annual Premium|
And your car?
Although turning 21 does allow you to be considered a more "mature" driver, you’re still considered risky. So, if you insure a vehicle with a high MSRP (i.e., more expensive to replace if you total it) or a vehicle that is capable of high performance or off-road driving, you can expect your premium to be high. If you’re looking to save money, you should consider picking a pre-owned moderate sedan or van.
How to save money on car insurance as a 21-year-old
After covering the rating factors and explaining why it is expensive to have car insurance as a 21-year-old, let’s address the best ways to save money without having to cut back on your insurance coverage.
Keep a clean driving record
So now that you can legally drink, you should be exceedingly wary of getting a DUI or DWI. On average, a DUI will raise your car insurance rate by more than $1,000 per year — which doesn’t even begin to cover the myriad of other penalties you will have to pay for. Furthermore, your insurance company will continue to charge you with higher rates for any violations for a total of three years — sometimes longer. In California, you can be charged for up to 10 years for a DUI. It's worth mentioning that if you do end up getting charged, there are insurance companies that specifically cater to drivers with DUIs.
|Accident/Violation||Avg. Annual Premium||Premium Increase|
|Speeding 11 - 15 MPH over limit||$2,151||$392|
|Speeding 16 - 20 MPH over limit||$2,190||$431|
|Speeding 21 - 25 MPH over limit||$2,282||$522|
|At-fault accident - greater than $2000||$2,605||$845|
Good student discount
If you’re in college, as many 21-year-olds are, you should consider the good student discount. The age requirements can vary, but most insurance companies still offer this discount to students in your age group. Insurers consider students with above a 3.0 GPA — or "B" average — as more responsible and generally safer drivers. As such, your insurance rewards your good grades with a lower premium. They will usually require proof of your grades every policy period. Combined with a defensive driver discount, you can save an average of $189!
Defensive driver discount
The logic for this is pretty straightforward. If you’ve taken a professional driving course to become better at defensive driving, you’re more likely to be a safe driver — which is good news for your insurance company. Usually, you can take courses provided by your local DMV but consult your insurance company beforehand to make sure they will honor the discount.
AVERAGE ANNUAL SAVINGS FOR GOOD STUDENT AND GOOD DRIVER DISCOUNTS
Bundle multiple policies
Your renters insurance covers your property and liability in the event something is damaged or you’re found responsible for certain types of damages. Some apartments and landlords actually require you to have renters insurance, which is a good idea anyway — it's useful and very affordable at around $150 per year. So make sure to bundle both your auto and renters policies from the same insurer in order to get a multi-policy discount.
|Homeowner Status||Avg. Annual Premium||Annual $ Savings|
|Renter With Multi-Policy||$1,677||-$82|
Summary: car insurance for 21-year-olds
Turning 21 years old is notorious for usually one thing and it’s not something usually encouraged by your insurance company. Still, turning 21 has other advantages besides being able to order a beer. You can expect around $700 in average annual savings as you begin to appear less risky to your insurance company as a young adult. But make sure you keep a clean driving record, have good driving habits and especially avoid drinking and driving if you want to keep this lower premium. In addition to this, make sure you shop around for car insurance every six months in order to find the best possible rate.
Whenever you age, move, or — in general — change anything above your driving profile as discussed above, make sure you check to see if you’re getting the best rate.
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About The Zebra
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
- The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
- The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.